Persona 5 has been out for about a week now and it has stirred up a lot of stuff in the gaming community. This mainly has to do with Atlus’ announcement regarding streaming / video making of their game. I’m not going to go into it here but if you haven’t yet heard and would like to know, you can do so here.
Let’s get into this review!!!
This is the reason I play games like Persona. The stories are unique and take you on a ride you weren’t expecting. Persona 5 did not disappoint on this front. We are thrown into some pretty dark stuff from the get go and I love it.
Many of these games revolve around high school aged kids, something that I no longer am. This often leads to a disconnect with players especially when it takes place in a different country with different cultural aspects. I didn’t have this problem with P5. A big chunk of that is due to wonderful translation, but another part is the strong story. It speaks to you on a whole other level, transcending cultural differences or weird translation errors. It comes down to being a good person and what that means to you as an individual.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of goofy awkwardness to go around too. Silly things and jokes that get thrown in lighten up the darker side of this game and it’s incredibly refreshing. They were able to keep it well balanced without either side overtaking the other.
There is SO MUCH to do in this game. You can interact with friends outside of school, study, explore shopping districts, get multiple part time jobs, read, watch DVDs, exercise AND go through the dungeons that make up most of this game. You can even romance some (or all) of the females you make into confidants. You will also randomly experience in-school questions and tests that will up your knowledge stat.
Speaking of stats, let me jump more into them. There are 5 different stats you can increase throughout the game that effect the way you interact with other people. Proficiency, Guts, Knowledge, Charm and Kindness. These can be raised through a variety of different ways, mainly the ones I listed in the previous paragraph when talking about all the things you can do. They merged everything together so that you as a player don’t feel overwhelmed.
When it comes to the battle aspects of the game, the developers didn’t stray too far from previous Persona titles, in fact they went back to some older mechanics. You can once again talk to demons you knock down and bully them into giving you money, an item, or joining you on your journey. These conversations require reading into the monster’s mannerisms and choosing the correct dialogue option for that particular scenario. If you fail it they can run away or get angry and begin fighting again.
You are timed when it comes to the Palaces (dungeons) on a day cycle. You will have a random amount of days until certain objectives must be met in order to continue on with the story. In between dungeon crawling you’re free to do as you wish in the outside world. I really appreciate this form of game play because I usually suffer from the boredom that comes with constantly doing the same thing over and over. Unfortunately this is an issue that a lot of JRPG’s suffer from.
Elemental weaknesses play a huge role in your battles. Discovering and using an enemies elemental weakness will grant you a knock down from which you can start a conversation or initiate an all out attack. These attacks usually end the battle and are incredibly convenient.
The last thing I want to mention here is the process of combining personas together. It works similar to how it did in P4. You get stat boosts based off of the tarot card the persona is under and you can’t combine any at a higher level than yourself. You have the option to create combos on your own, or you can select from a list that automatically gives you all of the current options you have available. The scene that plays upon merging the personas together is a bit gruesome, making it into an execution, but I like how they kept a darker theme throughout the entire game.
Tropes abound as is expected when it comes to most anime – like things. Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since they fit into the story well, but you will probably meet a couple of people that rub you the wrong way. That being said, everyone is very well written and believable when going through the mostly bad situations they’re put in.
I’m playing through with the English voice cast and I’m impressed. A lot of the actors are ones I recognize from other shows and games and they’ve all done a wonderful job in my opinion. The only thing that sort of bugs me is the Americanized pronunciation of some Japanese names. It isn’t anyone’s fault and doesn’t ruin my experience, but it is very noticeable.
Morgana is much more bearable (jokes) than Teddie was in my opinion. That’s all I’ll say on that…
The art reminds me a lot of comic books, mainly because of some pop art pics we get when a character uses a special finishing move in battle. This fits the hero / thief motif they’ve got going on well and it’s enjoyable to watch.
Persona has always been full of bright colors and 5 is no different. It taking place in Tokyo made this an easy job with all of the city lights and shops. The contrast between multi colored palaces and the darker tones of the characters in-dungeon costumes is pleasing to the eye and a smart choice on the developers part.
The trophy / achievement list is decent and full of a number of different things to get. All seem doable and fun if you’re into collecting things and reading every book that exists in the game. There are some combat based trophies in there as well if that’s more your jam.
The music is incredible. Something I’ve always loved from this series are the soundtracks. They have a very 70’s disco vibe that I love and it always fits well with the aesthetic of the game.
I’m really digging Persona 5 so far. The story is wonderful, game play’s multifaceted and the characters are relateable. If you’re into JRPG’s and weird story plots I completely recommend picking it up. I’d say go watch a Let’s Play or stream of it to be sure but….
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